Scott Brown says no to Ryan's Medicare plan
May 23rd, 2011
03:17 PM ET
3 years ago

Scott Brown says no to Ryan's Medicare plan

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts announced Monday he opposes fellow Republican Paul Ryan's controversial plan to overhaul the Medicare health care program for seniors.

"While I applaud Ryan for getting the conversation started, I cannot support his specific plan – and therefore will vote 'no' on his budget, Brown wrote in an op-ed appearing in Politico.

Democrats believe they have had so much political success hammering House Republicans on the Medicare plan that Senate Democrats plan to hold a vote on it this week to force Senate Republicans into what Democrats believe is an uncomfortable position – go on record for or against the proposal.

"The reality is simple. Their party owns this proposal to end Medicare. Republicans clearly want a mulligan on the whole idea, but they cannot hide from the vote in the House. By the end of this week it will be clear to the nation which side but Medicare on the chopping block, which side stood up to defend it,” Senator Chuck Schumer, D-New York, told reporters on a conference call Monday.

For anyone 55 years or younger, the Ryan Medicare plan would replace the current system with new lump sum payments for private coverage.

Brown, facing a tough re-election battle next year in the historically Democratic state of Massachusetts, said he opposes his party's plan in the House because he worries it will end up costing seniors more.

"I fear that as health inflation rises, the cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support- and the elderly will be forced to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays. Protecting those who have been counting on the current system their entire adult lives should be the key principle of reform," Brown wrote.

He also argues that Medicare has already taken "significant cuts" to help pay for the Democrats health care plan passed last year.

Brown even borrows a turn of phrase from Democrats against the Medicare plan, saying "I do not think it requires us to change Medicare as we know it."

After Brown declared his position, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana announced his plan to vote for the Ryan budget Monday. Lugar is up for re-election in 2012 and his seat has been named as a target by the Tea Party.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has stated she will vote against the plan.

Another GOP member to look for is the other Maine senator, Olympia Snowe.

A source close to Snowe tells CNN she is leaning against the House GOP Medicare plan, noting that Maine has a very high population of seniors, and that she wants to “proceed carefully” with anything that substantially changes the program, “especially if there is a cost shift to seniors.”

Both not only face potentially tough battles to keep their seats out of Democratic hands, they also both have potentially serious primary challenges from the right in their own parties.

But the reality is most of the Senate's vulnerable members this year are Democrats, not Republicans.

Still, the Ryan Medicare plan has been so controversial – even within the GOP – that Democrats are practically giddy about forcing the vote on it this week in the Senate.

"Republicans clearly feel that this Senate vote is a lose, lose for them. On the one hand, enough top Republicans will vote for the House plan so it will remain clear that it's their party's official position. On the other hand, enough rank and file Senate Republicans, particularly those in more difficult races, will decamp and it will bolster Democratic arguments that the plan is extreme," said Schumer.

Schumer also said Democrats will cast this issue as a reason to keep Democrats in control of the Senate – a way to fend off what they describe as extreme Republican proposals.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans plan to counter the Democratic move by forcing a vote on the budget President Obama sent to congress earlier this year. The GOP goal there is to get Democrats on record supporting a plan that doesn’t do much to cut spending or address the high cost of entitlements.

A Democratic source told CNN the expectation is most Democrats would vote against that, since the president’s budget does not include the broad goals the president laid out months later, to cut the deficit by trillions of dollars.

Republicans will also argue that Senate Democrats are shirking their responsibility, since they are in charge of the Senate and have not yet produced a budget blueprint of their own.

–CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report

Updated 3:22 p.m.


Filed under: Medicare • Paul Ryan • Scott Brown
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. gt

    brown would serve this country well if he ran for president.... smart , military service,,,looks like he has all the right stuff... good call on ryans plan not to support it...

    May 23, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  2. 'merica ruined by rethugs

    Flip flop. Least he saw the light, smart move for his political survival.

    May 23, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  3. Texas Doc

    Let the teabagging begin. I wonder how hard his party is going to go after him for betraying America.

    May 23, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. Once upon a horse

    I wonder if Limbaugh and company are going to attack him and call him a RINO? Well Sen Brown you just blew your chance at getting a job with FoxNews once you leave office.

    May 23, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. diridi

    just know, Paul Ryan is an idiot..."The Biggest Idiot".

    May 23, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. don

    Here comes the "Flip-Flop?? Did anybody expect different??? Gop, "Now they all will follow "OH, You cant quote me, I just made a mistake? Please forgive me???? "NOT"

    May 23, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. DJ in TX

    I like Ryan's independent view. He's voted against his own party a few times as well as against the Democrats a few times. We need more like him that are more to the center. Things tend to get done in the middle. I think history has shown us, the extreme of either side does not work. However, I do wonder what the Tea Party thinks of Sen. Brown now?

    May 23, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. GOP = Greed Over People

    The pretty poster boy, has a compassionate heart!!

    Who knew?

    Now if only that also applied to former beauty contestant losers...

    May 23, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. a in austin

    There are other ways to fix the deficit besides doing so on the backs of middle class and poor. The gop's mind set of "this is the way it will be done" and there is no negotiating tells me they are not looking after my best interest. I hope Brown continues to see the light.

    May 23, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. jdun

    Brown wants to get reelected, then he can change his mind. He will probably get reelected because the Dems don't have a well known opponent yet. Hope Maria Shriver moves to Mass and runs against him! Brown sold out to Wall St on the reform bill but people don't really understand that yet. He is likeable, burt so was Reagan!

    May 23, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. John

    It just go to show you they are a every few Republican Senator that are not dumb and not want to lose there Jobs In 2012.

    May 23, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. RG

    Flip – flop? They fear for their political lives. The Republicans have felt the sting at town hall meetings.

    May 23, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Brown is making a statement, he's a member of the Republican Party and not the Tea Party. Boehner doesn't have what it takes to bring his party back in line and people aren't going to support tea baggers. Paul Ryan has no use or respect for seniors and should be ashame of himself for proposing such a radical revision of medicare and Brown doesn't believe on picking on seniors to advance any agenda.

    May 23, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Sam

    Good for you Brown! I hope others, especially your fellow repubs follow in your footstep.

    May 23, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    Bottom line is, Brown wants to keep his job. The GOP in the Northeast and the Pacific coast will always have to tack to the center if they want to keep their jobs, or at least explain in non-ideologial terms, why they are voting the way the do in order to attract Independents. Brown's not an idiot: he knows that anger rarely tranlates into good long-term policy, so he's doing the smart thing by not blindly supporting Ryan, which will cost the GOP most, if not all, the seats they picked up in 2010 as well as any remaining swing districts the GOP currently holds.

    May 23, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    I think he wants to run for President some day. The measure will not pass in the Senate. His vote will not affect the outcome of the vote in any way, shape, or form. But it will affect his record when he runs in future campaigns.

    May 23, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Terry

    The GOP Motto is "Make wealthy people richer and make the elderly die, by taking away their Medicare". So, the Republicans have taken care of Wall Street, cut taxes for wealthy Americans, and now want the elderly, the folks who worked hard for America, to give-up their healthcare coverage. We have home grown terrorists, which we call Republican Members of the House and Senate.

    May 23, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  18. Publius Novus

    This decision is the best one for the country and also if he wants to keep his seat in the GENERAL election. Whether he will be able to get the GOP/TEA nomination is now in question.

    May 23, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    "However, I do wonder what the Tea Party thinks of Sen. Brown now?"

    A LOT better than if Coakley had been elected.

    May 23, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. Beverly

    Republicans lie to get elected and reelected then their true beliefs come out. Brown, like other Republicans are pure crooks. I don't understand why people choose to look the other way and not see these liars for who they really are. Republicans for the most part is the cult party that are out to destroy the middle class.

    May 23, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. Chuk

    Good. Now let's see how these hypocrits handle their own stressful situation. Anyone remember when they put Democrats out to dry over healthcare? What goes around, comes around. Putting the country first is in name only. When it comes down to it, it's about party ideology and doing whatever it takes to keep their seats. How's that hot seat working out for 'ya?

    May 23, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  22. kyle

    Ryan's big mistake was he didn't wait for the GOP to get control of the senate, and President before he attacked medicare, pretend to run on jobs, and when you are in control destroy medicare.

    May 23, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. PK California

    I have to agree with Scott's decision.I am not a Republican, but so far, this is the only man who votes with his brain. He will be ready in 2016 to run for president. I like the fact that he is not a blind follower of the crowd and isn't afraid to stand up to them. I do not believe he is doing this to be reelected. He follows his own common sense and listens to the people. Right after he was elected he stood up to the party and voted against them. It's a smart person who realises that their party is not always right. Of course that is called flip flooping. I don't think being able to change your mind when your original idea is proven wrong is flip flooping, it's good old common sense and the ability to express it. If more republicans did this, their party could possibly win!

    May 23, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. MODGOP

    I really think that Brown said no is because he has to win election next year so that the GOP can have a presence in the North East and I think he will win his first real election and will come out as being less moderate slowly but surely and he will try to sway voters in Mass back to the GOP which is completely possible by the way! I do think however when the election is over you will see Ryans Plan come back with full force or vigour!

    May 23, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Bob

    Scott brown is not a Republican. He ran on the GOP ticket but is truly Liberal/Democrat at best

    May 23, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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